The Catholic Archbishop of Ibadan Diocese, Most Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin, has urged youths to live positive lives of influence that could portray the image of the country positively across the globe.
Abegunrin made the call at the closing of a mass held by the diocese to commemorate the National Youth Day 2022, on Sunday in Ibadan.
The cleric said that like the Blessed Virgin Mary in Luke 1:39, now was the time for youths to rise with haste to be part of the efforts to improve the nation in all ramifications.
“The Letter of St. Paul to Timothy (1 Timothy 4:12), reminds you of the power you possess as young people. Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young.
“God specialises in using young men and women to change the fortune of a people and the course of history, as He used David to build a new Israel (2 Samuel 5:4),” he added.
The bishop said God used Esther to liberate the Jews from the claws of Haman, Esther 7:10; Gideon was the least in his father’s house.
He said: ”Yet, he defeated the Midianites (Judges 7:21-25); let the Lord use you to change the fortune of Nigeria for your generation, and those after you.
“We thank you for all your efforts especially in recent years to remind us of your parents, spiritual heads and government.
”Leadership is a call to service and not a platform for self-adulation and display of opulence.
“We feel and share your frustration of being denied access to proper and uninterrupted formal education today, we feel your pain of inability to enjoy basic amenities and infrastructure.”
Abegunrin further enjoined the youths to always be resolute as Christ, stand for the truth and maintain peace anywhere they found themselves.
“I charge you to get actively involved in politics now, get actively involved in matters that will shape your future and ultimately your destiny,” he said.
The Archbishop assured the youths of the continuous support of the Catholic Bishop Congress of Nigeria (CBCN), to fight for their rights in the country.
He enjoined them to ensure that their engagement with authorities at all levels was free of tension and violence.
“As you take up the challenge of standing to be counted in the next general elections and subsequently of the leadership of this great country.
”Remember that leadership is about taking responsibility not making excuses.
“It calls you to accept responsibility for your actions; it calls you to be accountable for your result.
”It calls you to take ownership of your mistakes, that is the only way a human being can truly be responsible in life,” he said.
Abegunrin further urged the youths to resist every temptation to indulge themselves in any form of election fraud.
He said, ”because those who elect corrupt leaders into office are never victims, but accomplices.
“I wish you all grace and peace and pray that in your lifetime, the Lord will lead us again to the Promised Land, amen.”
Abegunrin further expressed gratitude to all those who had contributed in no small measure to the success story the pilgrimage of faith has become.
“I thank most profoundly, all the Bishops of this Province, incumbent and retired for your invaluable contributions and prayer.
“I thank the coordinating Bishops, youth chaplains, male and female religious experts, animators and all the different committees that worked closely with them with the coordinating Bishops.
“May the Lord reward you all for all your sacrifices to bring the National Youth Day 2022 to a fruitful completion.
“My dear young children, again I congratulate you on this beautiful outing you have had and the success recorded, may the fruits of this pilgrimage endure forever in your lives. nan.”